How does malware launch

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A friend's computer has over the past few months become very sluggish on
her DSL internet downloads. I strongly suspect spyware or other such
malware.

I use a program called Startup Control Panel. It has five tabs,
corresponding to all the places - Startup (user), Startup (common),
HKLM/run, HKCU/run, and Run Once - that can launch programs at startup.
The program lets me enable or disable any of the programs listed under
each tab.

Problem is, I don't see anything suspicious. Where do malware programs
hide so programs like Startup CP can't find them?

Thanks,

Ray

Re: How does malware launch

GeorgeWBush wrote:
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If her anti-malware program is up to date, a more likely cause is lack
of basic maintenance. see below.

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They hide where such utilities can't find them... ;-) See David Lipman's
response.

Ray, I don't know what your level of expertise is, so the following
maybe be redundant for you. But your question indicates that you think
you can find malware just by looking for it. It's not that simple.
Anyhow, Startup CP just turns off programs, it doesn't remove them.
Simply turning off malware isn't enough. Usually, every time the
computer reboots, and/or the infected file is run, the malware reinstalls.

IOW, you need good anti-malware programs (and please note the plural.)
If your friend hasn't kept her AV program up to date, then some bad
stuff may have sneaked in.

Get at least three good anti-malware programs, and run them. AVG, Avast,
Avira, Kapersky, Counterspy, Spybot Search and Destroy, Nod32, etc. have
all been recommended here and elsewhere. Some are free, others offer
free demos. After running each one separately, and rebooting every time,
install one of them to start up at boot. I would run them all in Windows
Safe Mode with networking turned off, BTW.

Avoid Norton and MacAfee.

In addition to cleaning up malware, the computer probably needs basic
regular maintenance. Clean up your friend's computer.

For example, if the downloads folder has lots of entries, just preparing
it to receive another download can take several seconds. Rule one of
maintaining a fast computer is to get rid of any and all files that you
no longer need. A lot of downloads are used only once, so why leave them
on the HD? Etc.

CClean (donation ware) is very good cleaner of temporary files, browser
caches, etc. (It also has a registry cleaner, but  wouldn't recommend
its use without a pretty good understanding of what the registry is
for.) Then get a defragmenter. I use the one from Auslogic, it's free,
and does a better job than the one that comes with Windows. For registry
cleaning I use Registry Mechanic, it's unaggressive, which means it
doesn't flag all possible problems, rates the severity of the ones it
does flag, and (so far) has never messed up my registry.

HTH

--
Wolf Kirchmeir

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